MILWAUKEE -- If there's anything that can put an extra spring in Reds manager Dusty Baker's step towards the team bus to an airport, it's a "getaway day" victory. They often make or break the outcome of a series and alter the tone of a road trip.
The Reds ended a challenging road trip on a high note Wednesday with a 7-6 victory over the Brewers in 10 innings. It took a Drew Stubbs solo home run in the top of the 10th to give Cincinnati two of three in the series and a 3-3 trip through division rivals St. Louis and Milwaukee.
Before Wednesday, the Reds had lost four of their last five series finales before they boarded a plane. To win this game, they had to overcome seeing leads of 4-0 and 6-4 slip away and leaving 12 men on base after collecting 15 hits.
"We fought hard for it," Baker said. "They fought hard for it. You know they're not going to quit, especially with the offense they have. We're not going to quit with the offense we have. We're pretty evenly matched. That was a good game to win."
With one out in the Cincinnati 10th against Sergio Mitre, Stubbs drove a 1-2 pitch to center field. Carlos Gomez followed it to the fence and made a futile climb to stop it, but it cleared the wall for Stubbs' fifth homer of the season.
"If that ball had stayed in the ballpark, I might have had to hang them up," Stubbs said. "I hit that one pretty well. The only thing that made me question it was the way he went after it to make a play on it. As soon as I hit it, I thought it was gone."
Stubbs also started the game with a single and scored. He walked and scored in the sixth inning.
"He's an impact player," Baker said. "You see he can win the game with a homer. He's trying to cut down on strikeouts. When that happens, he'll really be a mega player."
Aroldis Chapman earned the victory after a superb 1 2/3 innings of relief in the eighth and ninth innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Logan Ondrusek gave up a walk and a bloop single to short center field. Chapman entered and hit Rickie Weeks to load the bases. But Chapman followed that by striking out Gomez and getting out of the jam when Ryan Braun grounded out to keep the game tied. Chapman gave up a two-out single by Corey Hart in the ninth but picked him off, sending the game into extra innings.
The Reds took a 4-0 lead for starter Sam LeCure in the top of the first inning while sending nine men to the plate. As part of his four-RBI day, Joey Votto took a 3-1 Yovani Gallardo pitch the other way for a three-run home run to left-center field.
LeCure retired his first seven batters in a row but got mired in some long innings from there. There were three hits in the Milwaukee third, including Gomez's lined two-run single to right field. The Brewers tied the game in the fifth at 4-4 and chased LeCure after only 4 1/3 innings.
In the top of the sixth, with runners at first and second base, Jay Bruce dropped a sacrifice bunt against lefty Mitch Stetter to put two men in scoring position. It also left first base open for Votto, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke opted to face the reigning NL MVP. At first, Stetter seemed to overmatch Votto, who had to fight off two sliders with late swings and fouled them off. Eventually Votto found the right pitch and hit an RBI single to right field. Brandon Phillips followed with an RBI single of his own.
"I don't want to load the bases and bring in a guy from the bullpen," Roenicke said. "So I thought about it, but I don't like to do that to a reliever. You throw Ball 1, and now you're in trouble because you can't hit a corner now. You have to throw it over the plate. And Phillips has been killing us."
The lead didn't hold up when Milwaukee responded with three hits to yield two runs in the bottom of the sixth against Jordan Smith. Ultimately, the Reds found a way to prevail, with Francisco Cordero earning the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
It was a positive outcome after a rather gloomy start to the trip. The Reds dropped two of three at St. Louis, which included a long rain delay in the series opener that cost them the use of starter Edinson Volquez. The lineup was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position in that loss. In the finale on Sunday night, they were shut out while notching only four hits.
"After coming away with the series loss at the Cardinals, it was a big bounce-back for us to complete the road trip at .500," Stubbs said. "It's good considering the fact we started off a little slow. Anytime you can win divisional series against an opponent like the Brewers, it's a huge plus. Hopefully we can carry that momentum into the next series."